Engineering Windows 7

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Application Compatibility Testing -- International

Application Compatibility Testing -- International

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This post continues the discussion of Compatibility testing from our test team.  --Steven

In the previous blog post "Application Compatibility Testing for Windows 7" we talked about the importance of Application Compatibility and work we are doing to engineer this in Windows 7. In this post we will examine the challenge that emerges as we consider the world wide audience that Windows serves.

This blog post will cover the following areas:

  • Overall International App Compatibility Strategy
  • Approach to International App Compatibility
  • Application Acquisition
  • Testing Applications
  • Measuring our Success
  • What it means to “Rescue An Application”

For Windows 7 we have made significant investment in application compatibility, ensuring applications that worked on Vista, continue to work on Windows 7 and we’ve also rescued some applications that were broken in Vista to work on Windows 7 (more on that later).  As we’ve talked about, there are some applications that are OS version specific by design (utilities, firewalls, security, etc.) and those are not included in this discussion.


One of the biggest challenges in International Application Compatibility is what applications we test, the scale of testing, and what it means for us to say that an application “works”.  For Windows 7 we are testing over 1200 applications across 25 specific markets.   We have improved our coverage over Vista by adding over 300 more international applications.

We look at applications in 3 buckets.

  1. Global ISV (GISV) Applications – Localized software sold by major ISVs in several international markets as well as the United States.
  2. Microsoft (MS) Localized Applications – Microsoft software that has been localized for use in other markets other than the United States.
  3. 3rd Party Local Applications – Software where the user interface language is not-English and the application is sold in non-English speaking markets (for example, IchiTaro – Japanese Word Processor, Парус 8 – Russian ERP system,)

Categories 1 & 2 are pretty straightforward.  There are a known set of key applications and scenarios used around the world and we must ensure these applications function in Windows 7.  Category #3 is where there is some complexity.

The applications list we build for 3rd Party Local Applications is built using a number of methods. First, we build on the list of applications we have used in previous versions Windows (XP/Vista, etc). If it worked on Vista, it must work on Windows 7. 

Next we work with our teams in markets around the world to rank top applications in particular markets.  It is amazing to see the diversity in application use around the world.   The application testing list is based on a combination of market data where it is available, individual knowledge of markets, culture, revenue, usage and even sometimes just “word on the street”.  The cultural knowledge in these markets is probably most critical to our success. For example, casual gaming in Korea is hugely popular and we need to ensure our Windows 7 testing accounts for this. 

Our goal in selecting applications is to test as many applications as we can that will expose the most issues across different scenarios and markets. 

These scenarios include:

  • Productivity
  • Memories (photo editing and sharing apps, etc.)
  • Graphics
  • Productivity
  • Music
  • Fundamentals (security, data backup, etc.)
  • TV/Movies

Application Acquisition

Once we build the list of applications we need to test the next process is acquiring them.  We acquire applications in a variety of ways but many times we have to buy an application from a retail store just as any end user would.  Other methods we use to acquire applications include downloading full featured trial versions, purchasing software, and working with ISVs to acquire their applications to ensure compatibility.

Testing Applications

Testing applications means more than just installing them and making sure they launch.  Every application gets a unique test plan written for it to cover as much functionality as we can.  We write test cases to cover primary and secondary application functions – for our word processing example this would include opening a file, typing a letter, adjusting formatting, save, and print, emailing a copy to someone, etc.  These applications go through 6 or more test passes during the product cycle.

Now, we can’t test every piece of every application and we do run into some interesting challenges when we focus on a worldwide audience.  Many applications depend on location specific information (meaning if you aren’t testing the application in that location – you aren’t likely to have the information needed).  Examples include  Brazilian citizen’s CPF ID, or Brazilian personal number of identification which would be required to test something like tax preparation software. We run into similar problems with SMS applications requiring active local mobile phone accounts.

What it means to Rescue an Application

Along with the core tenet of ensuring that any application that worked on Windows Vista also work on Windows 7 we have a stretch goal to “raise the bar” and make applications work on Windows 7 that never worked on Windows Vista. For Windows 7, we have some good news early in the development cycle.   So far we have made over 30 applications that were “broken” on Vista work on Windows 7.  This means that Windows 7 will have higher application compatibility than Windows Vista.  We are continuing to push this number up.  Below is a table of the # of applications by language that we have made to work on Windows 7 but didn’t’ work on Vista.

Language Number of
Apps Fixed
Example Applications
Arabic 1 Khalifa Cartoon Characters Creator
Chinese (Simplified) 1 Arcsoft WebCam Companion
Chinese (Traditional) 3

Asure Purchase/Sale/Stock Master 2008

Cyberlink DVD Suite v6

Asure Accounting Master 2008

Czech 1 J.K.R. BYZNYS
Danish 1 Bogskabet 3.2
German 2

QuickTime 7.1.6

Haufe Personal Office Professional - Haufe Formular-Manager

Hebrew 3

Compedia Timmy in English World

Compedia Moomins: The Search for the Ruby

Compedia The Puzzling Time Quest

Hungarian 1 Infocentrum Road Register
Italian 5

Finson Costo del Lavoro Italian v2

Finson Falco 6

Finson Progetto Condominio

Finson Contintasca 7

Finson ContinBanca

Japanese 5

PostPet v3

Kenchako Adventure 9.0

WZ Editor 5.0

QuickTime 7.1.6

Overland LOKI: with Japanese Manual

Norwegian 1 Visma Avendo Fakturering
Polish 2

WF-Fakturka dla Windows

Nahlik eTeacher 5

Portugese 1 Mr. Escola Win Port
Spanish 3

Mexico Federal Taxes Simplified SAT: Individual Taxes

Monografias Spanglish

IKEA Home Kitchen Planner

Turkish 1 MYTR Filter 2.6

Along with ensuring these applications work on Windows 7 we have taken an extra step for our existing Vista customers.  Of the applications outlined in the above table, 27 of the fixes we made have been back ported to Windows Vista for possible inclusion in future updates.   We really wanted to raise the bar for application compatibility and go beyond just looking at Vista as the baseline.


There is a lot of information here and hopefully gives you some insight into what it means for us to make the application experience (application compatibility)  on Windows 7 as high as possible for users around the world.  We started out with a goal of making sure if an application worked on Windows Vista it should work on Windows 7.  We have taken that further by bringing applications that never worked on Vista to work on Windows 7 and even future updates to Vista. 

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  • Please add 5 and 4 and type the answer here:
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  • @sdwolf

    We do test this card (on the list of graphics cards in a previous post).  

    If you could run dxdiag.exe and send me the output that would be a good step.


  • Name of that Quran Reader program is Muallim 1.0

  • @Mr Steven

    Mr. Steven , Nvidia driver in DVI not work fine

    screen flash black  random (like UAC effect)

    this problem is already present in Vista x86 and X64 and Windows 7 Beta 7000 x86 and X64

    i try With Nvidia 8800 GTX and more user of Channel 9 have encountered the same problem.

    in VGA no problem and Notebook no problem.

    All version driver Nvidia have this "problem" in DVI


  • I only have a hand full of applications that do not work well in Windows 7, and all of them are only utilized for the drivers that are included for my Astronomical CCD Cameras.

    I have been very pleased with the installations of software in this new Operating System.



    Due to finacial restraints I would like one ploblem addressed and it follows the last couple of post, one of the most popular chipsets the Intel 852/855/915GM chipset are only installing the VGA drivers...I understand the problems with this chipset and wish that I could afford to use better but could you include some drivers that at least function like the Intel "pci_ven_8086&dev_3582" drivers.

    I love Aero but it really is not a need when sitting at a monitor taking Stellar Images...but support for a lot of compters would increase Microsofts share in the profitability of customers using Windows, and in these times of financial woe a lot of people would upgrade if the Operating system would at least support a poorly disigned chip set.

    I can supply drivers that work if needed.

    Lorne L. Reap

  • I have a feature request that has nothing to do with Application Compatibility Testing.

    I have an internal card reader with 4 card slots that creates 4 drive letters in My computer. This is sort of annoying that they appear there when I don't need them.

    I think it would be great if you could create an option for removable drives to only show the drive letter in my computer if a disk is actually inserted. That way, I would get one letter if I plug in one card.

    That would be so great.

  • Like that...but hope you do that not whith hacks in windows...if a developer works not fix his work, say him that he need to do that...

    Off topic:,45819.html

    What is about that? True? Cant belive...

  • Steven,

    I think you thoroghly covered a lot of what I was looking for. Thank you so much for clearing this up. I definitely appreciate the feedback. You've made my job here working a whole lot easier.


  • @oviradoi:

    It already exists: Organize -> Folder and search options -> View (tab) -> "Hide empty drives in the Computer folder"

  • There is a program called foldit and you fold proteins for science, now running foldit under win 7 is very slow making it unplayable, but in winvista and xp it runs smooth, and ive tried the compability settings with 7 with no luck, any suggestions?  you can download the program here

  • Hello,

    I used Windows 7 7057 to run a game named Fantasy Earth Zero,but it will show error message.

    I used capability function, but it didn't work!

  • Hello,

     I used Windows 7 to run a game named Fantasy Earth Zero, but it showed error message.

     Then,I tried to use compatibility function,it still caan't work!

  • Like me, one reason I will be buying Windows 7 is for games.  I downloaded an old game from GOG, Freespace2, and I bet there are at least 2 or 3 from engineering who played and loved that game.  It's running on XP though I hope it will be better in Windows 7.

    There is also OpenAL. I hope it will be compatible as DirectX may not be everything especially for old games.  Why OpenAL?  The current FreeSpace2 derivative, Beyond the Red Line, uses OpenAL.  It runs on XP well, the response and battle is better.

    Thanks in advance :)

  • This is an very usefull aritcle. Thx.

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